208 VERDICT OX IXDIA One would have thought, after these acid comments, that 3Ir. Huq would have retired to the country and devoted the rest of his life to the cultivation of hydrangeas. Not at all. His career appears to have been in no way prejudiced. Bengal politics are like that.1 Let us tunx to the official documents. One of the most remark- able journals I have ever read is the Official Beport of the Assembly Proceedings in the Bengal Legislative Assembly. This may be described as the Bengal Hansard, but it bears about as much real resemblance to Hansard as the Marx Brothers bear to the Barry- mores. So numerous are the interruptions, the uproars, and the calls to order that the pages give the impression of farcical dialogue rather than of sober debate. However, occasionally a member does manage to utter a few consecutive sentences, and one of these occasions was on July 5th, 1943, when the Minister for Civil Supplies, the Honourable Kwaja Sir Nazimuddin made a statement on the food situation (see volume 45 of the Assembly Proceedings). If the vociferous critics of the British Government had taken the trouble to study this statement they might have been less hasty in their strictures. For * here, the Minister admits in so many words that he had deliberately spread the impression that all was well when, in fact, famine was already stalking towards Bengal in seven-league boots. Listen to him : * I have found criticisms levelled against me that I had stated that there was no shortage wheix actually there was serious shortage in the Province... but it appeared to me that insistence on shortage would only increase panic aixd stimulate hoarding and push up prices. I therefore refused to discuss the question.. .1 was 1 An interesting sidelight on the mentality of Mr. Huq, who, it must be emphas- ized is one of the most prominent and successful politicians that Indian nationalism has produced, is afforded by the advertisement columns of the Bombay Chronicle Weekly for November 7th, 1943. This contains a glowing tribute from Mr. Huq to Raj Jyotishi, *the great astrologer and renowned Taptrick.* Among Jyotishi's con- tributions to mankind is the sale of powerful jewels and charms whose wearers are guaranteed * promotion in service, prosperity in business, peace of mind, family happiness and immunity from incurable diseases.* The jewels are described as * protection from all evil stars.' In justice to Mr. Huq it must be admitted that he is by no means the only Indian politician who boasts of his reliance upon astrologers and-' magicians; Jyotishi's list of Indian clients is formidable, and includes many of the most distinguished champions of Indian nationalism. Chacun a son gout, but it is a little difficult to reconcile this jiggery-pokery with adult representative institutions.